“I can NEVER find anything to wear!” How many times have you said this when getting ready for work, especially when you’re in a hurry? I know I have! This question (and some requests!) have prompted this week’s Work Chic Wednesday post about the basics any business woman needs in her wardrobe. I have chosen to narrow it down to seven items because these are items that can help pull together any outfit, any time of the day, for any business occasion.
- A blazer. A good quality black blazer is essential to any business woman’s wardrobe. It can be worn with almost any color dress pants, pencil skirt, or even jeans if you are having a Casual Friday. They’re also great to keep at the office just in case you need to pull together a fast, more professional looking outfit. I also suggest at least one other blazer in white for those occasions where that color would compliment the outfit more. And it never hurts to have a red or navy one either. But definitely a basic black blazer and white blazer are two essential items for every woman’s closet.
- Black heels. ESSENTIAL. A comfortable pair of black heels adds a sense of sophistication to any outfit. Peep-toe, pointed-toe, closed-toe, round-toe. There are so many choices. My main suggestion is to make sure that you don’t get too high of a heel. Keep it under a 3″ heel if possible, especially if the heel is a stiletto. But my current favorites are peep toe black heels that have a chunkier heel. They are usually more comfortable than stilettos, and they can be worn with any outfit.
- Small, fine or fine-look jewelry. There is nothing wrong with wearing statement pieces to the office at all, but sometimes a more subdued look is required. A small necklace, or even two small necklaces layered with a white top and black blazer can look stunning. Small stud or small drop earrings look exceptional when worn with your hair pulled back or down, and they are not too big and flashy that they take away from what you are saying as a business woman. Your voice is what you want people to hear and “see,” not the huge earrings you’re wearing! And if you don’t want to spend a “fine jewelry” price, check out fashion jewelry that has a fine look. The pieces featured here are all from my boutique, Candi by Kristy, and are under $50.
- Dress pants and/or knee length pencil skirts. Notice that I didn’t say they had to be black or another dark color! Your dress pants or skirts do not have to be black, gray, or navy to look sophisticated. Put together in the right outfit, a pair of red or coral pants, a white top, and a black blazer can be business chic and present a look that will impress any employer or client. One of my favorite outfits I wear at least every other week during the spring and summer is a pair of dark coral pants with a black top and black heels. Simple, yet stylish and professional.
- Shirts. Ok, so I’m leaving this a little open for interpretation as to what kind of shirts. If you want basic, go for a simple oxford shirt in a bright or pastel color. For a dressier office or event, try a silk shirt with a bow you can tie or leave undone at the top. Both work with the blazers, pants, and skirts very well. If you want to have a little more flair, there is nothing wrong with either a structured or flowy patterned shirt, but make sure it’s not so loud that it distracts from you as a business woman.
- A subtly branded or non-branded tote bag. Most of you know I love my Louis Vuitton bags, even with the monogram all over them, BUT sometimes having the brand of a bag or the pattern of a bag plastered all over is not what is appropriate for an office setting or meeting setting. For these purposes I have a black leather Tory Burch laptop tote. It has the logo, but it is only stitched at the top of the bag where it is very subtle and chic. You don’t have to go with the classic black or brown bag; I just usually suggest one of those colors as they will likely go with almost any outfit you have.
- A watch. Yes, those things you wear on your wrist that tell time. Why? Because constantly looking at your phone presents the image that you’re distracted. A potential employer or client doesn’t know if you’re checking a text, the time, or chasing Pokemon. A silver or gold watch that is not too big or small is perfect. I will caution you on choosing an Apple Watch or other smart watch ONLY because you might forget to turn off the notification sounds or notifications period. Constantly looking at your wrist because it is dinging or vibrating is just as unprofessional as constantly looking at your phone. You do need to keep track of the time for many reasons, so a watch is needed. With a regular analog watch, you can glance at the time, date, or whatever is needed without looking distracted or in a hurry.
- Bonus!! An agenda/planner. If you’ve followed me for a while, you know I LOVE my agendas. I own several, and use them all at various times. I know that you can see dates, appointments, and more on your phone, but you might be shocked at how many people still prefer a paper agenda, especially for work. The right one can help you look sophisticated and put together. You also never know when you need to jot down some notes or hold on to a business card. Sometimes writing can be faster and easier than typing with your thumbs on your phone. Plus, a computer glitch won’t cause a paper agenda to lose all of your notes and appointments.
Those are my top suggestions for some basics for your business and work wardrobe. With all of these, you can put together a fabulous and chic outfit that will show that you are professional, stylish, and confident.